The first BharatBenz bus – a school bus –rolled off the production line at the Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) plant in Oragadam, Chennai, today marking the start of bus production at the integrated truck and bus plant.
The front-engine BharatBenz buses are for short-distance travel and targeted at school, staff and tourist transportation. The premium segment will be addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engine buses for inter-city transportation. The new plant will manufacture buses with gross vehicle weight of 9, 16 and above 16-tonne range.
DICV says it has raised the safety bar in India with the new BharatBenz school bus, which is equipped with the latest safety features. They also offer reliability and low running costs for schools.
The company’s statement says its BharatBenz staff buses are a cost effective and a comfortable mode of transit for employees while the BharatBenz tourist buses are designed towards high fuel efficiency and low maintenance cost to minimise expenses for operators.
With the new multi-axle coach, DICV is introducing the next generation of Mercedes-Benz buses and the first 15-metre bus in India. The lightweight body and the high end styling together with the increased capacity make it an attractive product for intercity applications.
Speaking on the occasion, Markus Villinger, managing director, Daimler Buses India, said: “It is a significant occasion for us as we start production of Made-in-India buses for the Indian market at our Oragadam plant. The buses are engineered to provide value to our customers and offer them suitable products with our two-brand strategy. We see enormous potential for growth in the market as the volume of the Indian market for buses weighing over eight tonnes is set to double by the year 2020.”
After today’s start of production of buses, the DICV plant is the only Daimler Trucks plant worldwide to produce trucks, buses and engines with three brands – Mercedes-Benz, BharatBenz and Fuso – under one roof. The bus chassis are rolled out from the same assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks, as they are technologically similar to the medium-duty BharatBenz trucks
Before local bus production started, DICV has already started to export its bus chassis from India to Egypt in February, other markets to follow in future. Because the chassis are technically similar to those of the medium-duty BharatBenz truck, export activities from Chennai had begun even before the bus plant opened.